You are not alone if you have recently realized that you are a glorified project manager.
Many people find themselves playing the role of accidental project manager at some point in their career. Whether you are managing product development, a marketing campaign, event launch or anything else that requires budgeting, coordinating people and resources, and ensuring that tasks are completed on time - you are a glorified project manager.
This might make you feel unprepared or overwhelmed, but the good news is that you can now gain the skills you need to become a highly effective project manager.
To get started, we recommend that you check out some of our previous posts, including:
- Glossary of project management terms you need to know
- The unrealized project manager
- Project management 101: the importance of leadership skills
Now let's get into it. Here are 5 tips for becoming a better project manager.
5 ways to nail your role as accidental project manager
1. Take a course (or two)
The go-to course for project managers is offered by the global Project Management Institute (PMI). There are certain prerequisites and a fee involved, but becoming a PMI Certified Project Management Professional can boost your career and make you more employable in future.
You should also consider working on your soft skills. After all project management requires sharp leadership, communication and persuasion skills.
Read more: Your guide to PMI certification
2. Find a mentor
You can save yourself a world of hassle and pain simply by connecting to a mentor. This doesn't need to be a formal relationship (though that would be best), just having someone to guide and advise you as you manage projects can make a huge difference.
If there's no-one on your team who can help, it's worth looking at leaders in other departments. For example, you might find a product manager or marketing manager whose leadership style you like. Invite them out for a coffee and ask if they would be willing to advise or mentor you as you build your project management skills.
3. Think about the big picture - from the client's point of view
One of the most important mindsets that make good project managers is that they can put themselves in their clients' shoes - whether that client is internal or external. Adopting this view means that you automatically think differently about the way you communicate with your client, prioritise tasks and manage risks.
4. Improve your project plan
Of course, the magic of project management comes from the project plan. If you are already managing projects, then you are probably also working to a project plan. Did you know that there are many ways you can make your project plan better? For example by setting milestones that indicate when each phase has been successfully completed, by viewing your plan as a Gantt chart, or by using software to allocate tasks and view progress.
5. Use technology to make collaboration easy
Speaking of software, there are so many options for managing projects online - from something as simple as Google Sheets, to free online tools like Trello, to more practical tools like Viewpath project management software.
The benefit of using these tools is that they make it easier to manage teams, share the project plan, view progress and generate reports.
The right software can turbocharge your project management.